As I could feel my stomach churning from the cute girl's steady gaze, I immediately looked towards the entrance in hope that the newcomers would help me out of my dilemma, but they only made it worse.
"Excuse me. Please forgive us for being late, but I'm glad that all five of us are here," said one of the two newcomers.
Two beautiful girls who looked very familiar, entered the room and closed the door. As much as I wanted to believe that I was wrong, my heart and mind just told me to give up.
'I know, I know but, really?! Damn it, Ms. Aria! I'll definitely remember this.'
I had never told her about my feelings, but I didn't doubt that she could easily see through me. Maybe the premise for why this club was created was true, but I became suspicious of the reason why I was made to join.
I wouldn't say that no amount of money would make up for this, but I certainly wouldn't be selling myself cheap.
As the newcomers stood proudly before us, the girl at the front continued.
"Since we'll be clubmates going forward, why don't we start with introductions? My name is Hinata Arisugawa, class 1-A. And behind me is,"
Arisugawa slightly turned around to signal the girl behind her.
"...Sachiko Amakawa, same."
And just like that, the tiny part of me that wanted to deny this reality was crushed.
After Arisugawa and Amakawa, Zakushi was the next to follow with his eyes still in his book.
"Ryuuto Zakushi, class 2-A."
After him was the girl beside me. Once she stood up, I finally realised that I would also have to do this and my heartbeat sped up like a racecar while my right leg jumped up and down like it was vibrating.
"My name is Kanami Kirisaki, class 1-C. I hope that we can all become friends."
I sensed her glance at me while saying that in an energetic voice, but I was much too preoccupied with my own anxiety. I wished that I could turn invisible, but as all the girls' eyes turned to me I knew that I didn't have the balls to ignore them.
Slowly and nervously, I stood up and focused on not screwing up.
"Haruto Akishiro, class 1-B. Nice to meet you all."
Inside my head, I did a fist pump as I sat down. However, I knew that I wasn't out of the woods yet. In this club was my crush, a queen, an angel, a chad, and then me. Out of place was an understatement. I felt like I was the ugly duckling but without the swan part.
'Ugh, will I really be able to make it in here?'
While I was still freaking out on the inside and wore a polite smile on the outside, Arisugawa continued.
"Good, now that we've introduced ourselves, why don't we nominate a president? I nominate myself, any other candidates?"
Amakawa stayed silent, Zakushi didn't even glance at her, Kirisaki looked away with a shy expression and no amount of courage could make me compete against her.
"If there are no objections I'll be President, is that okay?"
"Very well, I shall gratefully assume the position. Next, is the Vice-President."
I breathed a sigh of relief as I thought that the Vice-President would definitely be Amakawa, but that relief came too soon. My chest tightened as she ignored Amakawa, looked at Zakushi, then Kirisaki and stopped at me.
'No no no no no-'
"Akishiro, would you like to be the Vice-President? You'll just need to assist me with some minor things."
Hell no. Is what I would have said if a single glance from Amakawa didn't make me freeze up and I could defy Arisugawa.
I did have some interest in working alongside Arisugawa, but the voice in my head kept telling me that I would definitely screw up. And I wholeheartedly agreed.
'Uggghhhh!!! How am I supposed to quit now?!!!!'
As I struggled to hide my growing urge to scream, Arisugawa moved on to what would thankfully be the last topic of the day.
"Since this is just the first meeting I won't keep us all here for long. Let's handle one more matter before exchanging contacts so that we can continue later. We need to decide on the name of the club and a basic idea of what our club will do. I suggest that we make a service club since that wouldn't require us to have any shared interests and we can advertise our club."
It didn't sound like a bad idea but...
"It won't work."
While I wondered how I should comment on Arisugawa's idea, for the first time Zakushi lifted his head from the book and took the initiative to speak.
"And why is that?" Arisugawa asked.
Her expression hadn't changed but for some reason I imagined the temperature of the room dropping.
Zakushi responded, "There's already a club for that, and it's co-ed. If we do it too, they might see it as us invading their territory."
"And what territory is this we're invading? Isn't it fine as long as we don't take the same requests or do the same projects?"
"But to do that we would have to get in contact with them and get their permission to start our activities. That would leave us in a vulnerable position in our relationship so they would be able to push us around. At that point, the ones we would be volunteering to help wouldn't the community, but them."
Arisugawa frowned, but unable to come up with a rebuttal she stayed silent and glared at Zakushi. The atmosphere in the room became tense, so I looked around but Amakawa showed no change in expression while Kirisaki was only looking at the two anxiously.
'Guess it's up to me then.'
I got the feeling that she had a good reason for wanting to make a service club and since the mood was getting bad, I mustered up the courage to make a move. It wasn't usually in my character to do this, but I did accept the job to keep this club running for as long as possible. I stood up and grabbed my chest before squeezing out my suggestion.
"Um, what if we limit it to the school?"
"What do you mean?" asked Arisugawa.
I subconsciously tightened the grip I had on my blazer, before I continued with my mouth drying up faster than a street puddle on a hot day.
"If I remember correctly, the other service club only does its activities outside of school. So if we make our activities inside school we should be able to avoid invading their territory, and it would also be easier for us to focus on our core demographic which are the students here."
I explained as best as I could, but even if my idea was fully conveyed I didn't know how they would take it.
After my suggestion, Zakushi returned his gaze to his book so I assumed that he had no problem with it, and Kirisaki seemed impressed so it was unlikely that she had a problem either.
It didn't look like Amakawa would be taking part in this discussion, which left only Arisugawa. More than anyone else, I sincerely wished that she liked my idea.
As she kept a pensive expression, I could feel my condition worsening. Perhaps this period was taking its place among my top 3 most anxious moments so far, as I was forced to patiently wait for her decision.
"It can work." she finally replied.
Unable to force it down, I sighed in relief and took my seat again. Away from the eyes of the others, I noticed Kirisaki sending me a thumbs-up under the desks. I smiled when I noticed it and sent one back before returning my attention to Arisugawa.
"Well then, assuming that no one else has an objection we shall be a service club that operates on school grounds."
No one responded so I felt a bit of pride in being able to show off in front of my crush. It wasn't much, but being of use to her was enough to fill me with joy.
'Woah, at this rate I'll become a simp! I need to hold myself back.'
I shook my head to free myself of troubling thoughts and listened to the rest of what Arisugawa was saying.
"Finally, let's come up with a provisional name before we exchange contacts and go our separate ways."
This sounded like something we could just leave to her so I assumed that the room would turn silent once more, but a hand shot up from beside me to disprove that.
"Oh! What about 'Fairy Consultation Club'? You know, because we'll grant wishes like fairies."
Once Kirisaki gave her idea with a bright smug face like she said something clever, two were swift to reject it.
"Denied," said Zakushi with his eyes still in the book.
"Same for me."
Kirisaki only looked a little sad when Zakushi rejected it, but when I agreed with him she was totally shocked and gasped in surprise as she looked at me with a feeling of betrayal in her wide eyes.
"Why?" she asked pitifully.
'I'm sorry but I'd rather not be in a club with a name too cringey to say with a straight face.'
Though my heart felt a prick when I saw a frown on that cute face, my answer wasn't about to change. I didn't know why she thought I would agreed to a name like that, but this opinion wasn't just among the guys.
Arisugawa also commented on the name she proposed as gently and politely as possible.
"I'm sorry, Kirisaki, but while your name is certainly 'unique', I was hoping for something for more plain. For example, my suggestion is 'High School Life Assistance Club'."
"That's fine," inputted Zakushi.
I followed, "I agree."
Taking about the same time we took to shoot down Kirisaki, Arisugawa's suggestion was approved.